CHARLESTON — A former deputy with the Mason County Sheriff’s Department has filed a wrongful termination suit, claiming he was forced to resign based upon racial prejudice.
Eric J. Lynch, 48, Nitro, filed the wrongful termination suit in Kanawha County Circuit Court earlier this month, according to the West Virginia Record. The lawsuit names not only the sheriff’s department but the Mason County Commission, former Sheriff David L. Anthony, II, and former Chief Deputy Jeff Fields.
Mason County Commission President Rick Handley confirmed the lawsuit’s filing on Friday, saying he found it difficult to understand how someone (Lynch) who pleaded guilty to fraudulent use of a (county) credit card could come back later and say his termination was racially motivated.
Court records show Lynch was indicted by a grand jury on one count fraudulent scheme (a felony) and one count fraudulent use of a credit card (a misdemeanor) back in 2010. According to court records, in his plea agreement, he pleaded guilty to the fraudulent use of a credit card charge while Mason County Prosecuting Attorney Damon Morgan agreed to dismiss the fraudulent scheme charge. Court records show Lynch was fined $2,500 by Circuit Court Judge David Nibert.
Prior to the grand jury indictment, Lynch reportedly resigned, citing “urgent family matters,” and made full restitution to the county for disputed charges involving unauthorized purchases of fuel totaling $4,572.37. These purchases were made between January 2009 and February 2010.
Court papers filed by Lynch claim Fields’ “investigation into the misuse of the gas card was at best, incomplete and at worse, inaccurate.” He also states Anthony gave him “permission to use the gas cards in the manner that he did.”
The West Virginia Record also reports Lynch is currently appealing the revocation of his law enforcement certification.